Riders enjoying a short trail to Capelinhos in the Azores

New Year on Faial Island

This New Year, explore Faial Island on horseback, a remote and tranquil isle in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. On this lodge-based holiday, first ride trails through the island's lush green meadows before exploring the more lunar landscapes of the volcanic area around Capelinhos. This idyllic holiday ends with a wonderful New Year's eve dinner complete with Portuguese wine to welcome 2020!
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
8 days / 5 riding days
From £1,220
Open to non-riders
  • Group of riders having a good time
    Discover this remote island in the saddle
  • Riding horses in an arena
    Set out on a relaxing riding holiday
  • Accommodation Patio Lodge near Cedros, Azores
    Stay in beautiful, modern accommodation
  • Riders and sunlight on Faial Island
    Choose Faial Island for your next horseback holiday
  • Trail riding on Faial Island, Azores
    Enjoy riding on Faial Island this New Year
  • Cliffs and ocean of Faial Island
    The contrasted landscapes of Faial Island
  • Riders stopping by a bar and having a drink
    Enjoy a break from the saddle!
  • Dolphin-watching on a riding holiday
    Extend your trip and go dolphin-spotting

Itinerary

Highlights

- Enjoy comfortable accommodation in picturesque surroundings
- A New Year's dinner party to give 2019 a proper send-off!
- Ride full Lusitano and Lusitanian /Portuguese crosses through beautiful and occasionally lunar countryside
- Enjoy varied landscapes with a combination of volcanoes and coast line trails
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE- LISBON -HORTA - No Riding

    Patio Lodge
    You will be met at the Horta airport on Faial Island by a member of our team. We recommend you spend the night before in Lisbon and take the 8:00 am flight the following day. We can take care of you reservations in Lisbon upon request.

    A 30 minute transfer from the airport will bring you to Cedros where you will be welcomed at the Patio lodge. After a quick lunch you will get to meet the horses and settle into your room.
    This trip sets the Patio Lodge as its base, each day you will set out from the lodge in a different direction to fully explore Faial Island.

  • Day 2 2 : PATIO LODGE - WHALING HARBOURS - PATIO LODGE - 4 to 5 hours

    Patio Lodge
    Before your first day in the saddle, you will learn a lot about whales and their history on the island of Faial during the briefing. You will then get to know Explore the coastal areas of Faial Island in the saddle. Enjoy a trail on black sand beaches near Capelhinos The green, lush scenery of Faial Island in the Azores your horse and your equipment for the week. The ride start on gently rising meadow paths, and becomes more active with short trots and canters. You reach a whale watching point. With a little luck and when the sea is calm, riders can see whales and dolphins. You then make your way back to the lodge along the steep coast, where lunch awaits. In the afternoon you set out on horseback again to reach two small whaling harbours. If the weather is good, you can even go for a swim! The horses stay overnight in a small hamlet, while riders are driven back to the lodge.
  • Day 3 3 : LIGHTHOUSE TRAIL AND VISIT OF HORTA - 3 hours

    Patio Lodge
    Today you can learn about the impact of the 1998 earthquake on Faial. You set out early on today's morning trail, that begins along the coast through blue hydrangea hedges, to the island's former lighthouse, which was destroyed in the earthquake. The nearby village still has a crumbling church that testifies to the power of the earthquake. Saddlebag picnic for lunch, before you drive to the town of Horta. You will find enough time to discover this colourful and cosmopolitan port town. Maybe a gin and tonic in the famous Peter Café Sport Bar? Riders are transferred back to the lodge in the evening for dinner.
  • Day 4 4 : CALDEIRA OF FAIAL - 5-6 hours

    Patio Lodge
    Another early start, as you ride today to one of the island's top highlights: Faialʼs crater, the Caldeira, standing at an altitude of 1,000m. A real challenge for riders and horses. It is likely that you will meet farmers on the way to their cows, and pass Heather trees looking like giant broccoli! You slowly ride your way up to the crater rim of Faial via switchback tracks - the crater is 400m deep and 2,500m wide and is a fairly impressive sight. Those who would like to extend their stay on Faial Island can descend into the depths of the crater with a nature park guide (please ask us for possible extensions and activities). After a saddlebag picnic lunch, you ride through the wild and remote landscape of the high mountains. The trail leads you over farm roads down to a small volcano which inner crater you can reach on foot through a small tunnel - a very special experience! After a full day in the saddle, you arrive at the Jungle Camp in the late afternoon, where the horses stay overnight while riders are taken back to the lodge.
  • Day 5 5 : FAJA BAY - 4 hours riding

    Patio Lodge
    Faja-Bay is a hidden bay where the islanders have grown wine and fruit for 500 years. On the way there you pass small adegas, wine houses with their vineyards. Riding through dense jungle-like forest, you reach the black lava beach of Fajã Bay. A magical, romantic world of its own. Small lava stone houses, well-tended gardens and a wild sea await us. Our saddlebag picnic area is right by the sea. A wonderful canter takes us back to the jungle camp in the afternoon. Today, like every evening, there is a thematic dinner allowing guests to try the tasty cuisine of the Azores.
  • Day 6 6 : CAPELINHOS - 4-5 hours riding

    Patio Lodge
    Today the trail takes you through a mystical jungle landscape. Enjoy fantastic canters with beautiful ocean views. Extensive vineyards, but also small adegas pave the way. Via narrow tracks close to the shore, you reach another top highlight of the Azores, the volcano of Capelinhos, that erupted in 1957. Desert-like solitude awaits. Hidden under the buried lighthouse is the modern interpretation center that reports on the volcanism of the Azores and the eruption of the volcano. We combine a saddlebag picnic with a visit to this attraction. Riding over parts of the volcano, we reach the Jungle Camp in the late afternoon. The transfer back to the lodge is already waiting there.
  • Day 7 7 : CANYON TRAIL - 4 to 5 hours

    Patio Lodge
    Today is the last day of your trail riding holiday in the Azores. You cross the island from the dry south to the green north, enjoying magnificent views over terraced pastures down to the blue ocean. Some nice canters lead to the highest village on the island, Ribeira Funda. A typical Azorean picnic is waiting for the group directly above the 300m deep canyon. In the afternoon the route takes you along yam fields through a small, wild and romantic valley after 6 days of riding back to the Lodge. A big farewell dinner with wine tasting in the lodge end a lovely trail riding week.

  • Day 8 8 : HORTA-LISBON-UK - No Riding

    After having an early breakfast at the island bakery with fresh bread, cheese and coffee, you will fly out to Lisbon.
    We recommend booking the earliest flight possible to Lisbon so you can catch your connecting flight back to the UK.

Dates & prices

Price details

- International flights are not included

- This ride is very flexible - please enquire about longer or shorter stays.

- For this special New Year ride to be confirmed there needs to be a minimum of 1 rider per group. The group maximum is usually 9 riders, plus your guide.

- Non-riders are welcome and benefit from a reduced rate. Please contact us for a personalised quotation to include additional activities.

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider, you will be charged a single room supplement. In 2021/2022, the single supplement is €228/$280/£200 for this ride.

- There is a rider weight limit of 95kgs/ 15stone/ 209 lbs - if you weigh more than 95kg and wish to ride, please contact us

- PLEASE NOTE: the wait for a transfer from Lisbon to Faial island can be lengthy outside of the summer season. Because of this, we may suggest an overnight stay in Lisbon to give you the opportunity to explore the city

- If you wish to extend your journey and explore Lisbon, contact us for accommodation tips in the heart of Lisbon
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide

Logistics

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 vehicle and driver

Inland transports

Airport transfers

Accommodation

Double rooms in guest houses

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the final day (day 8)

Additional equipment

Saddle bags

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extras - outside of those served at meals

Transport

International flights

Extras

Tips to the local team
Park, museum and other tourist site fees

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked in case of cancellation.

Optional

Accommodation

Single room supplement. See above for more details
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    26/12/2021 02/01/2022 £1,220 €1,437 $1,671 Open Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    27/12/2022 03/01/2023 £1,330 €1,566 $1,822 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

A herd of gentle and well-schooled pure Lusitanos or Lusitano-Cruzado Portuguese cross horses await you on Faial Island. They spend the year turned out on the prairies and are worked with daily. Their average height is 15.2hh and they can carry a maximum rider weight of 95kg/ 15stone/ 209 lbs.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You should be able to ride in all paces and in all kinds of terrain. The terrain is quite mountainous due to the volcanic nature of the island and you should have a steady seat, but the ride is not overly technical.

There is a rider weight limit of 95kgs/ 15stone/ 209 lbs - if you weigh more than 95kg and wish to ride, please contact us

Pace

The riding is relaxed with all three paces (walk, trot, canter). Due to the mountainous nature of the terrain, most of the ride is at a walk but faster paces will be had whenever suitable.

Tacking ability and participation

Each rider grooms and tacks their own horse and helps the team to distribute water and food to the horses.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

A good level of fitness and endurance is required as you will spend several hours in the saddle each day.

Equestrian equipment

Prestige trail saddles, saddlebags and Australian raincoats.

Helmets are mandatory. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

We recommend waterproof trekking boots, wind and waterproof jacket and trousers and a small refillable water bottle.

With Azorean airline SATA riding equipment is free of charge up to 10 kg.

Travel info

Comfort

You will stay in the comfortable Patio Lodge built on the property in 2016. Cosy and inviting to come back to after a day’s riding, you will be able to enjoy the accommodation’s terrace and garden. The rooms are double or twin. You can also request a single room at an extra charge.

In 2020, the Lodge also added a lovely "Tiny House" to their offer, perfect for couples looking for a little more intimacy.

There is also a cosy cottage perfect for families and groups of friends that can sleep up to 4 (at a supplementary cost).

If all accommodation options at the lodge are fully booked at the time of your booking, you will be given the option to stay at a local guesthouse instead.

Meals

Dinner is typically Azorean cuisine with water and wine included.
Lunchtime is either a picnic or a light lunch in a local bar (with selected drinks).

Climate

The Azores have a maritime climate with mild temperatures ranging from 16°C (60°F) in winter to a comfortable 26°C (79°F) in summer. The sea is warmed by the Gulf Stream and sea temperature varies from 14ºC to 22ºC. On average there is about three to four hours of sunshine a day in winter and seven to eight in summer. Rainfall is distributed around the year, but is heavier and more frequent in winter. Characteristic for the Azores is the wide variety of weather conditions within a short period; a single day can be windy and calm, sunny and showery in any combination! A typical and true remark is that if you don’t like the weather, you just have to wait 10 minutes!

Guide and local team

Victor and Anja stumbled across this beautiful little island years ago, and decided to make a life for themselves here. They bought an old Quinta, renovated it beautifully and soon added rooms to the structure. They are German and speak perfect English and Portuguese. Victor is occasionally seen leading the trails, while Anja looks after the horses and manages the facilities.

Diogo is native to the Island and has trained in Lisbon. He is a competent horseman and a great lead guide. He's always happy to take you around his island and tell you about its secrets. He speaks Portuguese and English.

Carla will be looking after your meals and make sure you get a taste of the traditional Azorean cuisine.

Several interns complete the team in the summer, helping out at the stables and as back up guides.

Tips

Tipping is not compulsory but will be very much appreciated if you enjoy the services provided by the team. Tipping is totally at your discretion but we recommend €50 (€30 for the trail guide and €20 for the lodge team)

Packing list

Head
- Helmets are mandatory and you should bring your own. There are many lightweight options available nowadays
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana

Upper body
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold. Australian raincoats can be rented at an additional fee directly to the lodge.

Legs
- 2 Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Thermals
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Waterproof shoes/boots can be useful for abundant dew in the mornings or when it rains
- Trainers and/or hiking shoes for the other activities you may choose to do
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful

Other useful items
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

Medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Miscellaneous
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (passport, camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- You should also bring a copy of your passport/insurance in case you lose your documents. You can also save a copy into your mobile phone.

Visa & Health

Formalities

British citizens: other nationalities, please contact us.

Visas
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Portugal.
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021:
- you will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
- if you are travelling to Portugal and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel would count towards the 90-day limit
- The 90-day limit for visa-free travel will begin on 1 January 2021. Any days you stay in Portugal or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

At border control for Portugal, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

Passport validity
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Passport validity from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

Please visit for the FCO website for up-to-date information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal

Health

UK Citizens: A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).

https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Budget and money

The Azores is a part of Portugal and the currency is Euro as well. Most of the restaurants, hotels and car-renting companies accept common credit-cards. But don't expect credit cards to be accepted in smaller restaurants and residencies. Be sure to carry small bills. There are places that it can be a problem to change bigger notes. Most banks accept Visa/MasterCard's. Most banks have employees who speak English or French.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Ano Novo
After a wonderful trail ride around the island during the day, you must be prepared to celebrate New Year's Eve with some Portuguese traditions. One of the most iconic traditions in Portugal is to eat twelve raisins, one for each clock bell strike at midnight before the year ends, paired with sparkling wine. But wait - You have to make sure you consciously make-a-wish as you eat each and every single raisin, twelve raisins means twelve wishes!